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Brussels promotes 'Dutch reach' to stopping cyclists being hit by car doors

09:27 14/02/2024

The Brussels parliament has unanimously approved a resolution that will include the "Dutch reach" in the city’s driving course, hoping to reduce the instances of motorists opening their car door and mistakenly hitting a cyclist.

The "Dutch reach" refers to a car passenger opening their door using the hand furthest away from the handle.

For someone in the driver’s seat or just behind it, this means using their right hand to open the car door to their left. This causes a person to naturally widen their gaze to include the road when making the movement, creating the opportunity to spot an oncoming cyclist.

Traffic regulations already prohibit opening the door of a stationary car without looking because it could endanger other road users, a phenomenon sometimes called "dooring".

But if someone fails to remember to look and uses their nearest hand to open the door, they can complete the action without turning their head or shoulders and therefore not using their peripheral vision.

An estimated 15% of cycling accidents in Brussels are said to be caused by dooring, according to a 2018 study by Brussels Mobility and traffic safety institute Vias. In almost a third of the cases, the cyclist was using a cycling path or bike lane at the time they were struck.

For several years, cycling associations have been promoting the "Dutch reach" to prevent this type of accident, as it has long been systematically taught in driver training in the Netherlands.

“This creates a movement of the body in which the head and upper body automatically turn a little more,” the resolution reads.

“This movement gives the passenger who wants to get out of his vehicle a better view of the possible dangers that may come from the sides or from behind the vehicle.”

The resolution – addressed to both the federal government and the Brussels region – was brought by Jonathan de Patoul (DéFI), Arnaud Verstraete (Groen), Ibrahim Dönmez (PS), Ingrid Parmentier (Ecolo), Carla Dejonghe (Open VLD) and Fouad Ahidar (Team Fouad Ahidar).

Now that it has been approved, mobility minister Elke Van Den Brandt (Groen) can start on the measure’s implementation.

Written by Helen Lyons



It would be nice if they would teach Belgian cyclists the common courtesy of using a bike bell to warn pedestrians and others they are approaching, often at dangerously high speeds, especially on paths they share with pedestrians (in the forest too). The authorities could start by requiring all bicycles to have a bell, as is the case in the Netherlands. The bicycles too are often a danger to others.

Feb 14, 2024 11:55
Calling BS

Anon, even if you add a Q to your name, I call bullshit!


Feb 14, 2024 17:54

Bullshit from Anon3? Anything to do with slowing cars down a bit or behaving like normal human beings, and you could raise a good crop of rhubarb!

Feb 14, 2024 20:41

As usual, completely wrong. Bikes need to be equipped with a bell.

Feb 14, 2024 20:52